AOL Acquires Huffington Post for $315 Million

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Arianna Huffington arrives to attend the Webby Awards in New York (REUTERS / Lucas Jackson)

The Huffington Post announced Monday that AOL will acquire the website for $315 million.

Arianna Huffington, for whom the site is named, will become the president and editor-in-chief of the newly created Huffington Post Media Group.  The media group will encompass some of AOL’s most popular brands such as Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, MapQuest and StyleList. The combined network will supposedly reach up to an audience of 270 million.

(More on Read Arianna Huffington’s answers to 10 questions from TIME’s readers.)

AllThingsD, who initially broke the news late Sunday night, pointed out that Huffington’s project only recently became profitable and that the buying price is five times the website’s projected annual revenue of $65 million. The bulk of the $315 million deal was done in cash.

In recent years, AOL has aggressively pursued major online properties and now employs over 1,000 writers. Three sites from the Technorati Top 5, a list that measures a blog’s influence and traffic, are now AOL properties. The deal, “will create a next-generation American media company with global reach that combines content, community, and social experiences for consumers,” AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said in a statement.

(More on NewsFeed: See Arianna’s appearance on The Daily Show.)

The Huffington Post originally launched as an alternative to sites like The Drudge Report in 2005. Over the years, it has featured contributors such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Norman Mailer, and Madeline Albright. It appeared on TIME’s 2009 list of best blogs.

(More on See the best blogs of 2010.)

Huffington wrote in a post that Tim Armstrong, AOL’s CEO and current chairman, approached her with the proposition earlier this year. In a dramatic flourish, the deal was finalized at the Super Bowl. She notes it was a momentous way to mark the occasion – indeed, it was her first Super Bowl ever. Chances are it won’t be her last. (via Huffington Post)